Friday, August 26, 2011

FFF: Why Harper Lee never wrote again

The only thing more interesting than publishing an enduring classic like the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird is refusing to explain why you never wrote anything else. And yet, that's exactly what I bring to you today, the real explanation why reclusive American author Harper Lee never published another novel.

It is at once earthier and more believable than many of the theories I've seen bandied about.
The subject of "To Kill A Mockingbird" is off-limits for most who talk to its author Harper Lee, but not to her close friend, the Rev. Thomas Lane Butts of the Monroeville Methodist Church. "We talk about it once in a while," he tells Paul Toohey of Australia's Sunday Telegraph. "She once said to me when we were up late one night, sharing a bottle of scotch: 'You ever wonder why I never wrote anything else?' And I said, 'Well, along with a million other people, yes'. I espoused two or three ideas. I said maybe you didn't want to compete with yourself. She said, 'Bull ... Two reasons: one, I wouldn't go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill A Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say and I will not say it again'."
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11 comments:

  1. I too have wondered why she never wrote anything else. Thanks for filling us in, Johne!

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  2. Makes sense, really. I've always theorized that each of us has just one story to tell and most of us go on telling it, in different ways, over and over all our lives. Lee obviously got her story right the first time.

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  3. Well...that makes sense. Some people don't write for any reason but to say their heart's truth. When it's done, they move on. That often makes for the best books.

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  4. Great post! I never knew her reasons for not writing again until this post. Thanks for sharing!

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :) http://rachelbrookswrites.blogspot.com/

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  5. As interesting as Lee's reasons are, I can't help wondering if Rev. Thomas violated some sort of confidence by sharing them with an Australian reporter. Lee gave her reasons to a friend over Scotch. Who would like to see such words showing up in print?

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  6. If you only write one book in your life TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a great one to have on your dance card.

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  7. I agree with Greg G. Thanks for letting us in on the mystery. Love your blog.

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  8. I can't help but thinking that if we only have one story, we're not thinking enough, living enough, getting outside of ourselves. It's almost as if her real talents may be elsewhere (and there's nothing wrong with that).

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